The Good Dinosaur is a highly opinionated movie. Here we can talk about what set off our emotions(positive and negative) in detail! What were your favorite scenes? What could you have gone without? Let's talk The Good Dinosaur! (I'll write my opinions after I come back home, I have quite a busy day!)
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Okay, there are a few big things that didn't sit right with me in this movie (I didn't hate the movie in general, but I'm just going to focus on some negative stuff nagging at me right now);

1. The ending of the movie actually really ticked me off.

I'm good with the idea of them splitting. It's an emotionally impactful idea. I teared up even with the really awful execution. But the problem with this one is thus;


I was utterly confused through maybe half of the scene trying to spot anything remotely like a family resemblance between Spot and them, and trying to reconcile the scene with the sticks with there being four of them and them all being alive (when they were doing the stick thing I jokingly thought to myself that he was just copying Arlo and had no idea what they meant, but I sincerely doubt they'd actually go that route). Eventually I settled on this being a random group of humans. And with that I present the question of why on Earth he had to go with them. What, just cause they share the same species that instantly makes them better than the dude who almost killed himself to save him? Bull crud.

And heck, let's say that yes, it is absolutely 100% necessary that Spot be with humans; why can't the humans stay on the farm? That actually could have a been a bit better if they'd set the family up better, since they made a fairly big deal out of how much of a hard time they're having with the farm without Henry. 

They delayed the freakin' movie because there wasn't a strong enough ending, and THIS is the one we get!? What  was Peterson's if this was an upgrade!?

2. I really didn't like the whole "Mark" thing. It seemed really confused. They act like making your mark is one singular big thing, based on the singular word and the fact that they put their prints on just the one place even when it has nothing to do with what they did, but then it gets rewarded for the tiniest stuff. Henry's big amazing contribution is that he built a silo? Really? It felt like such a shoehorned in visual representation that didn't even fit with the rest of it. 

3. I'm sad to say that I thought there were a number of problems with Henry's death scene. I don't think the leadup worked, he just got so ridiculously angry out of nowhere and decides that even though the trap worked and therefore could work again the logical idea is to go running after Spot in the middle of a thunder storm. By the time he kicked the bucket, I placed the blame squarely on him. Him feeling bad regained some lost sympathy, but I think it would have worked better if maybe we saw him slowly losing his patience with Arlo beforehand, cause otherwise it's just like BANG instantly ticked. Also, I think setting it up so maybe Spot got out by himself or something (I don't know, I guess that'd mess things up later) might have been better, cause when Henry started yelling that Arlo had to face his fears all I could think was that this didn't really have anything to do with his fears. If anything, the very fact that he was willing to walk over and let him out was a level of bravery he hadn't shown before. "I don't want to kill a living creature by slamming it on the head with a big stick" is a pretty darn understandable feeling, and I don't think it really counts as a fear. 

Also, um...okay, I know this is going to sound horrible...but I totally laughed when he actually died. Just that slam from the water and then he's gone. It seemed so...slapsticky. It was the only time in the movie I laughed out loud, it wasn't even a quick laugh. And then I did it again when I replayed it in my head. [frown] Gah I'm horrible.
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I've heard lots of complaints from fans of Pixar that they were upset that Arlo just left Spot with a random human family. But I personally liked it. 
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Ok. The thing that me and my family won't stop talking about is a certain shot that took my breath away. It was when Papa was urging Arlo to run, and then there is a shot of Arlo looking at Papa, and the wall of water comes from the left and then it just cuts to black. It was just so intense and emotional to see Papa just standing there, and the wave comes at him and right before it hits, it just cuts to the gravestone. It gave me chills, and I was still in shock when the Apatosaurs were farming.

Bonnie, I totally get your frustration with the humans at the end thing. When Spot was doing his wolf call to the man and he was far away on the hill, I didn't even know what I was looking at. I was thinking that Spot had accidentally called an actual wolf, and that was the white-gray hair I thought I saw. But then when we saw him close up, I was really confused on who he was and it took me out of the movie. Was he Spot's dad? His grandfather, because of the gray hair? And then the rest of the family showed up and I kind of got it, but it took me a minute to get me back into the story.
In the end though, I thought the scene was very heartwarming, emotional, and moving. I loved to see Spot stand up on his feet, I felt like it was my accomplishment too, since I just love the character so much.

I loved when Arlo saved Spot from the rushing river at the end. It was a heart racing scene.
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Gray Catbird
For my part, I had no problem with the ending scene. Except that like mac95, for a moment I was confused because I wondered whether the humans were Spot's family... Which I thought would have been disappointing as it would have cut in the emotional impact of the "stick family" scene. But then It became clear that they were not his own family, considering they have a different hair color.
So yes, the fact they were humans was enough for me, I didn't need to know their background. The idea being that, with Arlo, Spot would have been nothing more than a pet, while with members of the same species, he might have a chance to develop more equal bonds.
I guess the problem some people have comes from the fact we know humans have rather complicated relationships and that they aren't necessarily nice to each other (Cinderella anyone?)... If Spot was any other kind of animal (which is how the film treats him), like, say, a horse, or a wolf, perhaps him joining an apparently welcoming tribe of the same species would have not been questioned; it's a fairly classic trope, I think.

Random thing I liked: I like how the pet collector kinda was a mirror of Arlo, in particular how he might serve as foreshadowing of Arlo and Spot's separation. What I mean is, Forrest is extremely protective of his pets, and he is freaked out when Debbie flies away. I think this was foreshadowing Arlo's own reaction when the possibility that Spot leaves him appears.

Now for my own nitpicking, I have one thing to say: Arlo's rescue of Spot broke a bit my suspension of disbelief. I mean, his father died in a storm just like that one. Yet Arlo, survives the first blow, can swim in it, and survives the fall?... It also made we wonder in which way exactly he saved Spot, since he didn't prevent him from going into the flow; what he did was more like sharing the same fate.
I like what the scene meant for Arlo's development, it's just that the way it turned out was a bit puzzling.
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Movie Bear
I've seen the movie twice now and that ending / separation scene worked perfectly for me. Yep, this middle-aged dude bawled twice behind his 3D glasses...even knowing it was coming the second time! Ha.

Anyway, I loved the way the movie set up that a couple of ways:  The first time Spot's howl was returned coupled with the distant vision of another primitive human made us realize that of course Spot can't be the only one of his kind trying to survive in this world. In that scene, both Spot AND Arlo's facial expressions of at first confusion and then recognition is a subtle, but beautiful moment in this film. And also one that we knew the story would HAVE TO return to later.

And of course the "orphan" scene by the river, with it's almost wordlessly shared expression of grief and family was a brilliant setup of that ending scene. 

The ending scene itself works even though the cave-people are obviously not Spot's birth family, it still seems to be a successful clan or family of his own kind. The non-dialogue interactions between Spot and Arlo at that moment convey a heartbreaking resignation that they both know that Spot really does belong with them, even though the bond between Spot and Arlo is one that is fully earned and we want to see continue forever.  This is just another in a several wordless scenes that says so much in it's subtler touches... moments like this are beautifully effective storytelling!

QUESTION:  So at what exact point (scene/moment) did Arlo actually "make (earn) his mark"?  I have my idea, but would love to hear yours....
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I think that Arlo made his mark not because of one key thing he accomplished, but because his family saw all he had gone through to get back to them. His family saw that the experience changed him for the better. Momma even thought he was Poppa for a minute.
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When I saw TGD this thanksgiving I walked in with neutral expectations to not be too dissapointed. When the movie started I was happy and when the movie was over I was kinda emotionless I didn't feel anything but sad, confused and slightly dissapointed. Still there were some parts that really hit me in a good way but there were also some parts that did not work with me. I'll start with the negative and end with the positive. Prepare for a long opinion page I really dig deep into my thoughts.

The Pacing
With an open mind I knew that it was going to have the same running time as Finding Nemo, but I expected the film follow the same pace without feeling too rushed. Sadly this is where I truly despised the film the pacing was horrendous for me and did not work, it felt very rushed without explaining many of the plot holes. This is a rather common thing today with animated films but I rather watch a movie that can tell a story without feeling like it just wants be done before you can get into it. Example when Arlo climbs up the mountain chasing Spot after finding himself in the wild, there is a quick shot of Arlo looking up at the mountain top and then suddenly there's a new shot with Arlo already on the top of the mountain seeing the view. Then right after it goes all episodic and feels more like it's an episode of a series where Arlo tries to survive. Then after Woodbush disappears it's already afternoon in the next shot. And if that's not enough at the end where there's a shot of Arlo reunited with his family there's a new shot with them already at the silo seconds after he just arrived. Ugh the pacing truly is my main problem and Finding Nemo pulled this off so well. 

The side characters
Throughout the story we were introduced to Arlo's family, Woodbush, The T rexes, Pterodactyls, Raptors and the random cave family. Yet none of these gets enough screen time or development for us to really get to know them. Like Arlo's family we only saw them the first 10 minutes even less than that. Buck is the stereotypical older brother who likes to mess and taunt Arlo but he even becomes more unlikable when he kinda bullies him and that's all we are left with Buck. Libby? I can't really say anything about her she is so bland and only have 3 lines. Momma was an interesting character but yet her too have way to little screen time for me to care about her. Poppa was likable but I quickly lost my faith in him when he wanted Arlo to hurt Spot. Plus I found it to come out of nowhere for him to be so furious at Arlo when he released Spot. He became rather antagonistic and blamed Arlo for not facing his fear while that had nothing to do with Arlo being afraid he only didn't wanna hurt Spot. Then when he yelled at Arlo several times while Arlo was scared and hurt I just wanted to slap him cause of his behavior but luckily he realized he acted awful and I kind of regained my faith in him after that, but still was it really necessary to suddenly transform him into a antagonist because Arlo didn't kill Spot. Yet still I did like Poppa cause he reminded me of my father who could be strict but was always understanding and laid back when I was at Arlo's age. Woodbush was hysterical but he must have broken the record after Libby to have the shortest screen time in this film he appeared for like only 2 minutes and then magically gone from the story to never return. That's not enough I wanted to see more of this guy. Right now Woodbush's like "This is Disney he allows me to play a big part in the merchandise for this film tricking people to believe I have big role. This is Pixar he prevents me from having more screen time than 2 minutes". The T rexes were interesting and likable but I had way to little time to get to know them which is really sad cause I was starting to really like Butch after his message about fear.The Pterodactyls were interesting antagonists that felt intimidating and creepy all the way until the the very climax when they started to act rather goofy and were easily defeated by Arlo. The Raptors were looking really cartoony and I didn't really like them that much cause they only played the role as rustlers and then they were gone from the story. I guess my main problem with the side characters were that they had no real character development thanks to having very short screen time and this really ruined the humor for the film. 

The Ending
So Im ok with Spot being reunited with a cave family who would take care of him as long as we get so him reunited with Arlo again at the very end of the film like an epilogue. But no we don't get to see the 2 of them reunited in the end and this really made me sad. after their depressing goodbye we quickly go back to the farm and Arlo's reunited with his family, and seconds after that it's all about Arlo earning his mark. So he puts his mark on the silo and then credits roll the movie is over, WHAT NO! THAT CAN'T BE IT, REALLY! You have got to be kidding me Inside Out had a much more uplifting ending than this. It felt like they just wanted the movie to end so they didn't haft to tell more stories and Im not ok with that. This is not a happy ending now I never get to see the two of them reunited again. I desire to have a longer ending of this film.

Overall Story

Yes the story is simple and we have see it before I agree and I haft to even more agree that the whole "Make your mark" became old very fast. The overall film is filled with clichés and plot holes and you can see the struggling of the story that Pixar tried to break but even after re writing the entire movie they couldn't fix the plot holes. I'll keep it short that the writing feels rather awkward at certain times and the execution feels mostly rushed and unfinished. Saying that it's just a kids film is not an excuse for bad writing remember you have all been kids yourself, and when I grew up with Disney's Lion King, Tarzan and Mulan those movies were written to answer the plot holes so that the movies never felt rushed. 

Message of fear
I really liked how the film introduced Arlo to the world as a rather insecure and scared protagonist but for some reason Arlo's vision kinda came up as pretty cheap to me for some reason. I don't know why but I guess I just wanted him struggle more. For some reason this made me feel a little meh.

Now for the stuff I liked

Arlo & Spot
Arlo and Spot were so fantastic characters and so memorable, let me start with Spot. I loved Spot's design as a wild little cave boy with brown hair and blue green eyes he reminded me a little of baby Tarzan. I like how after Arlo found himself in the wild Spot kinda grew on Arlo and helped him out. Spot showed so much much emotions with only grunts and the use of body language and he really made the film with his dog like behavior. It was so refreshing to have a protagonist who was little to the world and had a hard time finding his place. When people say that Arlo is a coward cause he has fears of the world I just don't understand that, there's so many people in this world who come out smaller than others and for them it's really hard to fit in, I know that myself. I like to believe that Arlo is late bloomed compared to his siblings. He still acts more mature than Buck and takes responsibility even though he is scared. To me Arlo was a character I rooted for and I love that Pixar introduced us to a new kind of protagonist. 

The orphans scene
OH MY GOSH this entire scene was so beautiful. So calm, so touching and filled with so many emotions. The scene was so well executed in it's own speed and it builded up with the beautiful score "Orphans". I know that Peter Sohn based this scene on his relation with his mother on how they connected to Dumbo. I was sitting in the cinema and I really cried with real tears. The scene itself was a masterpiece with so many feels and I think it is my favourite scene in the film. 

The opening
I loved how this film began with first showing how the asteroid missed and then the first shots on the landscapes to when we come to Arlo's birth. The opening was so uplifting filled with so much cuteness and joy. I think Pixar really nailed the opening for this film. 

The soundtrack
I absolutely love when soundtracks can bring emotions, beauty and be uplifting. The Good Dinosaur nailed this with most of it's scores some the scores comes off as masterpieces like Orphans, Goodbye Spot, Fireflies, Sky sharks and Run with the herd. I can listen to Orphans without getting tired of repeat cause of how much emotion it brings. Run with the herd is very uplifting if you have had an awful day, the only complaint I may have about Run with the herd is the use of saxophone. Without the soundtrack for this film it wouldn't had affected me in the same way.

The Animation
Everyone have said it and Im saying it too the water, the trees, the environment looks like real life capture on camera you seriously can't believe that it's all animated. The character designs comes off as very cartoony but mostly they are harmless, I didn't really have any trouble with the characters. The only complaint I have for the animation is that Momma, Libby, Buck and the raptors looked way to cartoony for my taste.

I didn't take scenes too serious so I laughed out loud when Arlo & Spot were tripping.

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Movie Bear
Very good review, BOT9. If I get a bit more time, I'd love to provide a response to many of the well-observed points you made.

But for now...Where have I heard the complaint about that saxophone before?? Hmmm...
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About the saxophone in "Run With the Heard" I've heard multiple people say they don't like it and I want to know why?...
I personally think it adds a kind of grittiness which you can only get from a barry saxophone and its playing the same part as all the other bass instruments even though its featured more. Which again I think is for that gritty running through the field so it really doesn't bother me especially when its contrasted with the soaring melody the trumpet has in the second half of the song which is VERY Americana.

I have a music degree so I find this it interesting the one instrument has stirred up so much conversation!
If you haven't heard it listen here!

What are your thoughts on the much debated Barry Sax.? [Smug_zpsbec03801]
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Movie Bear
Barry Sax and all, I've probably listened through this entire soundtrack 10-12 times now and 'Run With The Herd' is the best track among several great ones, IMO. The one I always repeat.
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My interpretation of the ending: Spot's parents really did die, leaving him to fend for himself and thus causing him to become a feral child (well, feral even for humans that aren't fully evolved yet). I'm guessing that in this movie humans haven't yet developed the ability of speech as we know it. It looked like Spot's hair had gray streaks in it at the end, and the whole other family had gray hair, so I interpreted this as humans having to live such a harsh lifestyle that they aged earlier and died faster than people of our time. I don't think the people Spot met at the end were his grandparents because 1) what I elaborated on earlier about humans not living that long in this era 2) they had young children of their own, making them too young. But if he had no previous relation with them at all, I have to wonder why they took such a keen interest in him in the first place, unless maybe they knew his family somehow. But somehow they weren't around to take him in when his parents died.
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